Serbia to Adopt New Patent Law

Nov 29 2010 - 10:56

A public discussion on the draft of Serbia’s new Law on Patents took place at the Serbian IPO on November 5, 2010, gathering representatives from the IPO, Ministry of Science and Technological Development, Ministry of Defense, Serbian Chamber of Commerce, along with the members of inventor associations and other interested parties.

The draft law, expected to enter the parliamentary procedure by the end of the year, has been created to fully comply with the EU directives and the conventions Serbia recently joined, the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Law Treaty (PLT), and to eliminate the weaknesses of the current Law on Patents. During the four-hour discussion, participants were asked to make suggestions and raise complaints, which will help improve patent protection in Serbia.

The most important change concerns European patent applications and European patents granted as a result of such applications, on which Serbia is now designated as a Contracting State, not as an extension state. Namely, a European patent application can now be filed directly with the European Patent Office (EPO) or with the Serbian IPO. However, the European divisional application must be filed directly with the EPO. The European patent application must be filed with the Serbian IPO in one of the official languages in accordance with the Article 14 of the EPC.

The draft of the new patent law for the first time allows foreign natural or legal persons, non-residents of Serbia, to act almost directly before the IPO. Namely, if they appoint a representative, entitled only to receive the IPO communication, they can file patent applications, receive notifications issued by the IPO and pay the fees themselves.

One of the major novelties is the possibility to appeal the IPO decision before the government, within 15 days from the date of receipt of the decision. The administrative proceedings may be instituted against the government’s decision within 30 days from the date of the receipt of the decision.

The draft explicitly regulates the assignment of rights, license and pledge and applicant’s/holder’s name or address change requests. A single request will be sufficient even when the change relates to more than one application/registration, provided that the application/registration numbers of all registrations concerned are indicated on the request. The draft explicitly prescribes the substantive examination proceedings of such requests.

The draft for the first time includes the provisions for restoration of priority rights. Namely, the applicant can file the request for restoration of the priority right within two months following the expiration of the priority period, but before the completion of the technical preparations for the publication of the patent application.

The government is entitled to grant a compulsory license or a supplementary protection certificate for pharmaceutical products. When deciding whether to grant such a compulsory license, the government must take into account the Decision of the General Council of 30 August 2003 on implementation of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health.

The draft law also provides that the petty patent may contain one independent patent claim and a maximum of four dependent patent claims.

If the applicant or the patent holder does not take action before the deadline given by the IPO, they are under certain circumstances entitled to request the continuation of the proceedings related to the corresponding patent application or registration. The request can be filed within two months after receiving the official notification informing the applicant/holder that the deadline for taking action has expired.

If the patent application fulfills formal requirements, the IPO can invite the applicant to request patent search and to pay the corresponding fees within one month of the invitation. The report on the requested search will be published together with the patent application in the Official Gazette or separately. However, if the applicant does not request the search report within the deadline prescribed by the IPO, the IPO will issue a withdrawal notification.

Under the draft law, the IPO employees do not have the right to protect their inventions during their employment within the office and the period of one year following the end of their employment.

For more information, please contact Tijana Milijanovic at our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: Serbian IPO, PETOŠEVIĆ

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